Billboard critics and boosters have some reading to do if they want to talk at this evening’s Tacoma City Council meeting. A new proposal made public this afternoon by members David Boe and Marty Campbell will be on the agenda.
But a vote won’t happen for at least another week, and likely longer. There will be more opportunity to testify — if there’s anything that hasn’t already been said during many long hours of public comment on the contentious billboard issue.
Boe and Campbell’s proposal adopts the city Planning Commission’s call for largely maintaining 1997 restrictions on signs, and adding an explicit ban on digital billboards.
It would give billboard owner Clear Channel six months to take down billboards that don’t comply — as many as 193 of its roughly 250 signs.
Within a year, permits that have been awarded to the company to put up relocated billboards would expire.
Campbell said some kind of incentives may be considered to help with the removal of billboards. And City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said some of the new restrictions would require the city to compensate owners.
By approving the measure, the council would be bowing out of a settlement with Clear Channel it approved last year that would have allowed the company to erect up to 38 electronic billboards in exchange for giving up its traditional billboards and permits.
Some on the council, including Mayor Marilyn Strickland, still favor an exchange of digital for traditional billboards. Others, including Jake Fey and Ryan Mello, side with Boe and Campbell against the digital signs. Read more »